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What's Public About Charter Schools?
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What's Public About Charter Schools?
Lessons Learned About Choice and Accountability



April 2002 | 256 pages | Corwin
This book provides an in-depth examination of educational policy surrounding charter schools, primarily in Michigan.Michigan has one of the oldest and most robust charter school laws in the country, providing important insights into how a large scale and national charter school movement might affect public education.This book offers important insights to educators in states with no charter school law, in states considering strengthening existing laws, and national policy-makers seeking to influence state-level education reform.

 
Preface
Outline of the Book

 
Acknowledgments

 
 
About the Authors
With Christopher Lubienski
Chapter 1: Charter Schools and Privatization
What Are Chater Schools? A Crash Course in the Charter Concept

 
Accountability to Whom? The New Politics of Education

 
What's Public About Charter Schools?

 
Formalist and Functionalist Views of Public-ness

 
 
Chapter 2: Shifting From Public to Private: Historical and Political Backdrop
Charter Schools in the National and International Context

 
The Public-Private Pendulum in Michigan

 
The Emergence of Michigan's Charter School Law

 
 
Chapter 3: The Charter School Reform in Michigan
The Charter School Concept in Michigan

 
The Growth and Development of Michigan Charter Schools

 
With F. Howard Nelson
Chapter 4: Charter School Finance
How Michigan Funds Charter Schools

 
General Fund Expenditures

 
Case Studies of Charter School and School District Revenues and Expenditures

 
The Cost Advantage of Charter Schools

 
 
Chapter 5: Choice and Access
Distribution by Grade

 
Racial/Ethnic Composition of the Charter Schools

 
Income, Family Structure, and Other Characteristics

 
Special Education--or the Lack of It--in Michigan Charter Schools

 
Beyond Demographics: Reasons for Choosing Charter Schools

 
 
Chapter 6: Teachers' Characteristics and Working Conditions
Teacher Demographics

 
Certification and Qualification of Teachers

 
Reasons to Seek Employment at a Charter School

 
Working Conditions and Levels of Satisfaction

 
 
Chapter 7: Innovation and Impact
Impact on Surrounding School Districts

 
Impacts on Educational Practice

 
The Diffusion of Charter School Innovations and Practices

 
 
Chapter 8: Student Achievement
Michigan in National Context

 
Assessing Charter School Impacts in Michigan

 
A Summary of the Findings

 
EMOs and Student Achievement

 
 
Chapter 9: Customer Satisfaction
Nontest Indicators of Academic Performance

 
Satisfaction With and Accomplishment of Mission

 
Satisfaction With Curriculum and Instruction

 
Satisfaction With Facilities and Available Resources

 
The Relationship Between Market and Performance Accountability

 
 
Chapter 10: The Effects of Education Management Organizations
The Growth of EMO Involvement in Charter Schools

 
Roles and Types of EMOs

 
Ownership of Charter Schools and the Problem of Bundling

 
Control and Governance of Charter Schools: Is the Tail Wagging the Dog?

 
Operating Charter Schools for Profit: Strategies and Consequences

 
 
Chapter 11: Lessons in Choice and Accountability
What's Public About Michigan Charter Schools? A Review of the Evidence

 
Are Charter Schools a Good Public Investment? The Question of Efficiency

 
Diagnoses and Prescriptions for Charter School Laws

 
The Future of Choice and Accountability

 
 
Appendix A: Key Historical Developments in Michigan That Have Affected the Public and Private Nature of Schooling
 
Appendix B: Background and Supporting Documentation for Analysis of Student Achievement
 
Appendix C: List of EMOs and the Number of Schools They Operated in 2000-01
 
References
 
Index

"What’s Public About Charter Schools? provides valuable insights for charter school operators and advocates, school administrators, community members, politicians, and policy makers looking for data upon which to base decision making. Miron and Nelson have lived school reform evaluation for years, and their experience shows in this thoughtful and useful book."

Kyle L. Peck, Charter School Founder and Professor of Education
Pennsylvania State University

"This is the most comprehensive book that I have seen on charter schools. Both the descriptive data and the analysis are an important contribution." 

Henry M. Levin, Director
National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education

"Miron and Nelson make a significant contribution to the debate about school restructuring reforms provide a strikingly balanced look at the charter school movement in action. Their conclusions and recommendations offer important lessons to school reformers, researchers, and policymakers both in the United States and internationally."

Priscilla Wohlstetter, Director
Center on Educational Governance, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California

"This book covers essential material and will be of interest for classes on education policy and educational administration and will command an audience among school reformers and policy analysts."

William L. Boyd, Distinguished Professor of Education
Pennsylvania State University

"What's Public About Charter Schools? by Gary Miron and Christopher Nelson deserves to be cited repeatedly as the debate about charter schools continues. The researchers' careful and balanced analysis of the situation in Michigan has much to say about the charter school movement across the country and leads to important cautions about whether and how the movement should proceed. These recommendations provide concrete and practical solutions for improving charter schools by addressing some of the shortcoming that the authors have uncovered."

Education Review, October 2002

"The greatest strength of Miron and Nelson’s volume is that . . . it provides the most comprehensive overview of how a school choice program works."

Educational Researcher, March 2003

What’s Public About Charter Schools? offers an interesting and comprehensive study of a significant charter sector. Policy-makers looking for ideas about what to do an not do would be wise to read What’s Public About Charter Schools.”

On-line journal, The National Charter School Clearinghouse
July 2003

Sample Materials & Chapters

Preface

Chapter 1: Charter Schools and the Public-Private Synthesis


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